The openSUSE conference will feature Georg Greve as first keynote speaker, opening the event on Friday morning. He will talk about “Freedom in the world we live in and the value and importance of communities and Software Freedom”. That’s a mouthful and we’ve asked him to tell us a bit about himself and what he’ll talk about.
We managed to catch him just before he was going to Hamburg for the holidays with the family, actively cleaning up the house and preparing for an early leave the next morning. Georg, born in ’73 on the tiny island of Helgoland outside the coast of northern Germany, spent the first 8 years of his life in this reclusive community before moving to the big city. There he studied biophysics and came across Free Software in 1993. Five years later he was the European speaker for the GNU Project, writing the well known ‘Brave GNU World’ column and in 2001 he initiated the Free Software Foundation Europe. Since 2009 he is the CEO of Kolab Systems AG and lives with his wife and “two utterly gorgeous” twin boys in the neighborhood of Zurich, Switzerland.
We asked him about what he will share with us at the openSUSE Conference.
Georg: “I’m sure everybody is aware of current events around the leak of Prism. Watching it all unfold has been interesting from a variety of angles, both for our communities as well as the larger version of community: society at large. It is awesome that people look at what is going on, care and get upset. But at the same time, it is weird that they get upset now as much of this has been known for quite a while. If you cared for this topic at all you could have learned all of this from public sources in the past. Not with such detail and in such depth or with the drama, but the gist of it was actually not very much hidden. The fact that the USA treats its own interest above everything else and isn’t shy to use its power, knowledge and military for its self interest and most importantly the interest of its corporations isn’t exactly news. It has been like this for quite a while and they have been quite upfront about it.”
Jos: But at least people are angry about it, now…
Georg: “People are shocked. But a few years too late. It is good that they are but we should ask the question: why is it worse to give your data to the government (which may use it in name of the corporations) rather than giving it to the corporations directly?
And people give their data willingly. Even the public sector is affected, just last week the Swedish government banned Google Apps usage in Sweden. They noted that it could not be guaranteed that the data would remain private. News, really? Perhaps there will be some rethinking …